Girl, 12, Tells Jury About Nude Games at McMartin
The first alleged child victim took the stand Monday in the McMartin Pre-School molestation trial, testifying that her teachers made students pose naked and that one of them displayed a dead cat and threatened to kill her parents.
The girl, now 12, told jurors that defendants Ray Buckey and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, apparently also had pictures taken of the naked children.
“They told us to take our clothes off,” she said. “The teachers said, ‘We’re going to play naked movie star.’ You took off your clothes (in a classroom) and there was a little group of kids.
“They told us to model around. Told us to walk around and pose.”
Sounds of a Camera
The girl said she heard “clicking” noises during the game and assumed they were from a hidden camera.
“You could just see the lens sometimes” behind a partition dividing classrooms at the school, she said.
Prosecutors believe that child pornography photographs were taken at the school, but concede that no such pictures have been recovered.
Ray Buckey, 29, and his 60-year-old mother are on trial for one count of conspiracy and 99 counts of molestation for allegedly sexually abusing the girl and 13 other pupils at the now-closed Virginia McMartin Pre-School in Manhattan Beach.
The nearly 4-year-old case was once considered the largest molestation case in U.S. history. The trial is expected to last from one to two years. The preliminary hearing took 18 months.
Pointed at Suspects
The girl pointed to Ray Buckey and his mother and said they were the teachers who made her and the other students play the “naked movie star” game both at the school and at a house away from the school. The alleged incidents occurred between 1977 and 1980, when the girl attended the preschool.
She testified that the Buckeys would sometimes take off their clothes too and play the game.
The girl testified that after playing the game once, Ray Buckey brought a dead cat into a classroom and “he cut it in the side” with a knife.
“He said if we ever tell our parents about the game, he would do it to our parents. He just said, ‘Remember the cat. That can happen to your parents if you tell them.’
“I was scared,” she said.
The girl testified that she and some other students, accompanied by the Buckeys, were sometimes driven away from the school to a “reddish-orangish” house where they also played the nude game.
She said other adults she did not recognize were at the house “taking pictures” of the naked children.
The girl testified that Ray Buckey’s grandmother, school matriarch Virginia McMartin, was sometimes present when the pupils were playing “naked movie star” at the school.
“She was kind of watching, making sure no one came,” the girl testified.
Virginia McMartin was once a defendant in the case, but Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner dismissed all charges against her and four co-defendants in early 1986 for lack of evidence.
The Buckeys and the other defendants were initially charged with more than 200 molestation acts stemming from alleged sexual assaults on 42 of their pupils.